A Grain of Salt

171 comments

IMG 72631   A Grain of Salt

In my last post, I opened the floor to you to ask some questions about body-image, weight, and eating topics that you wanted to explore. Firstly, thank you for having the courage to ask these questions because I know that is hard to do! Trust me, sometimes I get bashful before writing a post and want to crawl under my desk with a blanket over my head and hide.

Kinda like now.

But, I’ll be brave because you were brave. :)

I was a bit overwhelmed with how many questions I received, so I tried to pick out reoccurring themes and address the ones I felt that I could offer my experiences. What works for me may not work for you so please take what I say with a grain of salt and always see a professional before making any changes in your own life. Oh, and you might want to talk to your mom about that Tattoo you are planning. She brought you into this world and she can take you out!

Self-Love & Acceptance

How do you learn to start loving yourself, just as you are?

I’ve been asked this many times before and the question always leaves me feeling like I didn’t answer it properly. I think the reason why this question always tripped me up in the past is because I thought it implied that I just flipped a switch and instantly loved myself one day. And that was certainly not the case. It took me a long time to build a positive relationship with myself.

Because I had so many negative behaviours going on in my life (such as, negative self-talk, poor body image, disordered eating and exercise behaviours), I had to change those behaviours before I could ever learn to love myself. Only when I addressed those negative behaviours and started to eliminate them from my life, was I able to grow as a person and slowly but surely allow positive thoughts and behaviours to replace them. I do not think self-love can grow from a negative place. You have to create a positive place for it to flourish and was crucial for me to address those inner demons first. I did this through therapy initially, supplementing with things I learned in psychology courses.

Binge-Eating & Calorie Counting

How did you initially begin to deal with your issues of binge eating? Did you have to cut out certain foods from your diet for some time? If you ever slipped up, were you able to stay positive? And if so, how? Do you have advice from stopping binging and overeating permanently? How long did it take to feel as though you had control of yourself around food, and how did you resist the urge to binge? 

How did you learn to not count calories even though you already knew the calorie content of most foods? Out of all the progress I’ve made in my own recovery, I still find calorie counting hard NOT to do. I’ve gotten much better at avoiding it, but sometimes I find myself counting up my day before I even realize it.

It sounds counterintuitive, but I was able to beat binge eating by letting go and not restricting myself. For so many years, I thought I could beat binge eating by being more rigid and controlled, but that only made the problem worse. I would often think, ‘Ugh I need more self-control!’, but more control was the last thing I needed.

I needed freedom. Binge eating, for me, was my body rebelling from too much restriction and control.

I used to try a ‘cheat day’ once a week to prevent binge eating. That just did not work for me. I realized that I can’t deprive myself all week and then expect to have a normal and controlled cheat day. My body would rebel against me and I would often end up bingeing, only to start the starve-binge cycle all over again on Monday. I remember the emotional highs and lows it caused me and it further reinforced the lack of balance in my life. Plus, I hate the notion that one is ‘cheating’ when eating certain foods. What works for me now, is to have a treat every single day that I look forward to. I’m not ‘cheating’, but simply enjoying decadent food in moderation.

How did I stop binges after failing so many times? I had to stop counting calories and restricting my intake. I counted calories for about 10 years of my life and I never thought I could stop the habit. It took me about 6-12 months before I fully stopped counting calories. I would try to start very small, such as not counting calories for a snack, rather than overwhelm myself and going cold turkey. I had to make baby steps because it was extremely hard to stop and I found myself doing it automatically.

I still struggled with binge eating for about 1 year after I stopped counting calories and restricting my intake. I was so frustrated about this. Here I was eating healthy portions, yet I was still bingeing! I felt like I was never going to be able to eat normally again and I relapsed into my old ways a few times, but thankfully I stuck with it.

It took me a long time to get back to a place where I could eat normally and not have old habits creep up. It was about 1 year before I was able to stop bingeing and eat more intuitively. My best advice is to stick with it, seek professional help, and be patient. Eventually, you will re-learn positive habits that will take the place of old ones. It just doesn’t always happen as quick as we hope, but the reward is so worth it.

Weight & The Scale

You seem to stay within the same weight range for the most part – How often do you weigh yourself? If not very often, how did you stop weighing yourself often and obsessing over the number? And how did you learn to not care about the number on the scale as much?

When I got serious about recovery, I decided to ditch the scale. I removed the scale from the bathroom and put it in storage so it wouldn’t tempt me. For the longest time, I was trying to get better while still weighing myself daily and I found it impossible. I wanted my recovery to focus on what was important to me- my health and well-being. After time, it was easier for me to give up because I realized that I didn’t NEED the scale! After all of these years letting the scale control my life, I realized that I could live a healthy life without a daily number. I can maintain my weight by paying attention to how my clothes fit me and how I’m feeling. Once in a blue moon curiosity gets the better of me and I will weigh myself, but it no longer changes my mood or how I feel about myself. It is just a number. I am also surprised to find that I am usually within the same 5 pound weight range. I’ve learned that the body does a wonderful job maintaining its weight when you treat it kindly.

Happy Weights

What is your definition of a “happy weight” and how did you know that you had reached your happy weight for your body?

To me, a Happy Weight is a weight your body can maintain with relative ease. My happy weight is the weight that my body naturally settles at when I am eating healthy foods (of course with occasional indulgences too), not restricting my intake, and exercising moderately. My happy weight is the weight I can maintain without resorting to obsessive eating or exercise patterns. I was only able to find my happy weight when I stopped counting calories, listened to my body’s hunger signals, and exercised without obsession. Ever since I did this, my body has been about the same size (probably give or take 5 pounds) for a few years.

A Happy Weight doesn’t necessarily mean that you will instantly love the weight/size where your body is happiest. I struggled for a long time to accept my Happy Weight and realize that I wasn’t going to be a better person, more loved, etc. if I was 10 pounds lighter. If anything I would be unhappy and struggling to maintain my low weight like I used to. Over time, I have realized that I would rather be where my body wants to be, than fighting it the rest of my life.

Over-Indulging & Slip-Ups

I eat healthy at least 80% of the time, but my boyfriend likes to go out to eat at a restaurant about once a week or go out for some drinks. I’ll agree, but beat myself up over it the next day because I feel “fat”. When I weigh myself and I’m not where I’d like to be, it ruins my entire day. I love food and trying out new restaurants and want to be able to enjoy those things in life (in moderation) instead of beating myself up about them. How you cope now with times when you over-indulge a bit. I often beat myself up for eating “too much” and have trouble letting it go and being at peace with it.

How do you make up for a “bad day” (overeating-wise) without restricting food intake or overexercising?

I’d be interested in hearing about how you cope now with times when you over-indulge a bit. I often beat myself up for eating “too much” and have trouble letting it go and being at peace with it.

I think it is best to start your day off with positive behaviours that will quickly turn your mood around. If I over-indulge, I like to start the morning with a Green Monster and a sweaty workout. Shower, get ready, and put on my favourite outfit. After that, I am usually feeling back on track as the day goes by. A workout in the morning encourages me to eat healthy all day long and gives me a positive outlook for the entire day. Focus on positive actions you can feel good about (i.e., cook a healthy meal for dinner), rather than negative actions (i.e., I will skip my lunch today) to punish yourself.

Regarding overeating, it is human nature to overeat from time to time. I overeat sometimes and I try not to beat myself up about it. I may eat when I’m bored, sometimes I eat too much when celebrating with family or friends, or when I’m dealing with PMS cravings. It happens to the best of us! The difference now is that I don’t beat myself up and it doesn’t lead to a binge like it used to. It is what it is and I move forward. I have found that the more I dwell on something, the more difficult it is to get over.

Exercise & Balance

My question to you is how you’ve learned to find a healthy medium with your workouts that doesn’t throw your body out of whack, and also how you manage to stay focused on being all around healthy (as opposed to being thin) without letting yourself make extreme choices.

For me, a big turning point with exercise was finding a way to make it fun. I used to make myself do crazy long workouts at the gym and they always felt like a punishment more than something to enjoy. I used to workout to burn calories and that was about it. Once I stopped focusing on calories, I started to look for activities that I enjoyed the most. I fell in love with running and hiking and I was motivated by how my fitness improved and how I felt. It is important to find activities that you enjoy.

Trigger Foods & Baking

I was wondering if you had any trigger foods in relation to binge eating (foods that started the binge). I know that for myself, I simply cannot have anything super salty around or I’ll get a bit crazy with it (pretzels, chips, tortilla chips, etc.). When I bake, I immediately have to pack some of it up and put it in the freezer or take it to work.

I wouldn’t call any foods a ‘trigger’ for me anymore, but I do have a major sweet tooth! When I bake, I freeze baked goods and I also give them away so they don’t make up the majority of my diet. I typically always have a treat after dinner to end my day and I look forward to this indulgence. I’m often satisfied with a serving because I know I can have some the next day if I want to. By not making things forbidden or ‘off-limits’, they become less appealing to me.

Self-Sabotage

I think when I reached my “happy weight” I self sabotage. I start to say “oh I can have some extra snacks, I deserve it” then at the sign of weight gain I go into the whole “you’re terrible for eating that, might as well just have more then” mind frame. I’d be interested to hear how people deal with that.

I think self-sabotage can happen for many reasons. For me, I used to get a strong urge to overeat when my weight was too low for my body’s preference. I would be terribly hungry, which would lead to overeating and often binges (some say this is a survival instinct). Once I found a weight that my body could maintain with relative ease, the urge to overeat was reduced greatly. Others might self-sabotage because they are uncomfortable or insecure at their new weight and their self-esteem and emotions have not caught up with their weight loss. In these cases, it might be a good idea to talk it through with a professional.

It was important for me to realize that a a slip-up didn’t need to be a catastrophe and it didn’t mean I was a failure. I still have occasions when I overeat, but I realize that it is just a bump in the road along my journey.

Negative Self Talk

How have you over come negative self-talk, in both regards to self image as well as other aspects of life?

I’m certainly not 100% free of negative self-talk, but I would say that I have reduced it by probably 75-80% over the past few years.

I feel like negative self-talk and negative behaviours feed off of each other. As long as I was treating my body poorly, the negative self-talk would increase in proportion to it. In return, the negative self-talk fueled the negative behaviours! It is a hard cycle to break out of.

A good strategy that I used (and still do from time to time!) is this:

List all of your negative thoughts on paper, cross them out, and write positive ones to replace them. Do it first thing in the morning and right before bed. I strongly suggest that you do this twice a day because when you write your list at night time, you can look and see what was worrying you in the morning. Often, you will realize that your negative thoughts had no basis whatsoever.

For more on dismissing negative thoughts, please see this post.

Eating On The Go

Do you ever crave convenience foods, especially if you are out and about/busy? I’d say cutting way down on these is one of the biggest changes for me over the past few years.

When you are away from your home either traveling or eating out, are you triggered to binge by certain foods, since it is often hard to find healthful nourishing vegan foods in the average restaurant. (for me especially, living in rural Alberta). I cook very clean meals at home and dont bring processed food in that will trigger me, but i really struggle with traveling, which i have to do a lot of for work.

I know that my options as a vegan are likely to be very minimal when out and about so I try to pack snacks when I will be out. I am much more prepared now than I used to be. I tend to pack fruit (like an apple with nut butter), Glo Bars, or trail mix when I go out for an extended period of time.

When I travel I try to do a few things to prepare. 1) I ask for a mini fridge in the room if there isn’t one. 2) I will often call ahead to the restaurant to let them know I need a vegan dish. 3) I pack as many healthy foods as I can in my suitcase, such as bars, fruit, crackers, trail mix, etc. 4) I look for a nearby grocery store, market, or convenience store and pick up some fruit and things like cereal or non-dairy milk if my hotel doesn’t provide them. My goal is not to eat exactly like I eat at home, but to just do my best with the resources I have.

Friends & Family

How did you friends and family react to your disordered eating, and when did they realize that you needed help?

My family knew I needed help long before I was able to admit it. They would often try to help me or persuade me to get help, but until I was ready and willing to admit I had a problem, nothing really got through to me. It is extremely difficult on loved ones who have to watch the person go through it.

Therapy

Have you found help with behavioral therapy or through any other professional supporting you, or instead have strictly improved from the work done through your own self help?

While I was in university, I saw a behavioural therapist to seek help for my eating disorder. I was suffering from the binge-starve cycle and I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I gained about 25-30 pounds in my 1st year of university and I knew something had to change. While I was scared to be open with someone about my struggles, it was one of the best things I could have done for myself at the time. She gave me take home assignments that I could use to challenge my negative thoughts and behaviours.

Experiencing Emotions

I’m currently recovering from anorexia and I am realizing that I have trouble experiencing my emotions and managing them. Whenever something is wrong, I turn to my eating disorder…it’s like my crutch. I was wondering how you learned to experience all the ups and downs of life, while creating positive coping mechanisms, so that whenever you felt down, you wouldn’t turn to pictures of models, or doing other things ED-related things.

I totally used to use my ED as a way to avoid experiencing emotions. Anytime I felt the least bit uncomfortable, I would turn to my ED to numb the pain. When I recovered it was difficult because I had to actually face the ups and downs of life. I used to shut off all of my emotions and not talk about them. Talking to a therapist and also writing on this blog helped me tremendously. I learned, albeit very slowly, that talking about my struggles and problems was actually very healing and cathartic for me. The more open I was, the more healing that took place. It is important to find people you trust to talk to during this time because doing it alone is very isolating.

Food & Punishment

I think my biggest struggle is punishment. Any suggestions on how to not punish yourself for eating something that your mind thinks is “bad” – I think this also goes along with how to eat in moderation or understanding the consequences if you do decide to eat something that’s not healthy.

I think it helps not to think of foods as ‘bad’ or ‘good’. When I have a dessert or treat, I don’t say to myself that I am eating a ‘bad’ food, but just a food that I try to eat in moderation. Even though a food might not be superior nutrition-wise, I still recognize the value that it can have in my diet, such as pleasure, enjoyment, celebrations, etc.

How to Begin

Would you tell me how you started on your journey towards a better and real health? I have found myself on a path of self destruction for a long time. My mind knows better but old habits die hard. Where did you find the strength to overcome your negative thoughts and destructive patterns? How did you begin?

I was not able to change until I admitted that I was in trouble and I wanted to take steps to change my situation. I was sick of living my life the way I was and I felt like I was missing out on so many opportunities. Please see my Road to health series, for my story up to this point.

Off-Limit Foods

Did you ever have foods that were “off-limits” – as healthy as they may be (for example oils, nut butters, nuts, etc .. high in fat and calories.. but in a good way). Was it a struggle to re-incorporate these foods into your diet? If so – how were you finally okay with eating them… guilt-free?

Avocado, oils, nuts/seeds, and nut butters used to be off limits for me. I used to be terrified to eat these foods and I avoided them at all costs. When I took my focus off of calories and fat grams, it was much easier to introduce them into my diet because I wasn’t obsessing like I used to. I tried to focus on the wonderful nutritional benefits of these foods instead, like glowing skin and hair. I also saw a lot of bloggers eating these foods with their daily meals and that inspired me to use them too. Of course, I still try to be conscious of portion sizes, but I don’t obsess over it.

Weight Gain

I’m recovering from a past of restrictive eating and obsession with calorie counting. My question for you is that is how you would react if you gained back some of the weight you lost without changing your eating. Would you count calories or cutback on intake? My fear is that I will gain back the weight I lost and no longer be able to accept myself.

How did you deal with the fear of gaining weight when you stopped restricting your diet?

How do you not beat yourself up over weight gain. How do you avoid being depressed and upset about it?

I gained about 10-15 pounds when I recovered and initially it was very hard on me to accept that my body needed to gain this weight to be healthy again. It was very hard not being able to fit into old clothes, so it helped if I gave them away instead of keeping them in my closet.

This is where my hobbies also helped me out a ton. I started to focus on building my life back up and filling it up with activities that I enjoyed like writing, photography, or running. I used these new hobbies to distract myself from constantly focusing on my weight. Over time, it became easier to accept my weight because I was not only out there enjoying my life, but I was visibly happy and energetic, much more so than I was when starving myself or bingeing. For me, the proof was in the pudding!

Mindless & Intuitive Eating

Sometimes after I eat a meal, even if it’s filling and nutritious, I find myself walking over to the pantry and continuing to eat, whether I’m hungry or not. They aren’t serious binges in my case, and more often than not it’s healthy food, usually dried fruit or something sweet, but I know it’s not necessary, even if it’s not that bad for me. How do I combat these urges? I’ve definitely tried to put thought into staying away from the pantry/fridge after meals, but for some reason, it’s really really difficult for me. Any suggestions or strategies to help me?

How do I learn how to eat intuitively?

This happens to me as well, especially in the Winter time when I am bored at night! I found that having a dessert or sweet treat at the end of my dinner was not only something to look forward to, but it was a way for me to signal that I was done eating for the day. I typically always crave something sweet after dinner. When I have my dessert at night, I feel satisfied and I start looking forward to breakfast the next day. I try to have large breakfasts and lunches and have my calories taper off throughout the day. This seems to help prevent mindless eating at night for me.

As for intuitive eating, there is no magic formula to learn how to eat intuitively. It takes time and patience to re-learn how to listen to hunger signals. I had to give up calorie counting because as long as I was counting calories and restricting my hunger, I would not be able to listen to my body’s true hunger signals. It was a lot of trial and error for me and it took at least a year or longer to feel comfortable assessing what my body is telling me. After 2-3 years, it now comes to me naturally and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Pressure to Eat Healthy

Do you feel pressure to only showcase certain foods, i.e. natural, vegan, “healthy” in some capacity on your blog? Do you ever just want to feature a super nonhealthy dessert but fear reader backlash and outcry? Or you have no desire at this point in your eating journey to show things like that anyway?

I don’t feel pressure surrounding what I ‘should’ feature on the blog and I am very grateful that my readers have been accepting of all kinds of foods. The recipes I feature on the blog are foods, meals, and desserts that I actually eat and LOVE, so I don’t feel pressure to change one way or another. I eat what makes me feel good and I share that on my blog. I don’t think everything I post is healthy, nor should it be, but I feel like I have a good balance in my diet. Of course, what works for me, doesn’t necessarily work for everyone…we all have to eat in a way that makes us feel content! I’m just one woman who has found what works in my life and sharing it with the world.

Do you ever go a while without eating, but don’t end up feeling hungry when you normally would? When this happens to me, I don’t know whether to eat or not eat. I feel like I SHOULD eat, because I don’t like to skip meals, but I also feel like my body would tell me to eat if it really needed to. What causes hunger signals to go away? Do you have any tricks to keeping your appetite on a steady schedule? (I suppose this partially relates to being intuitive.)

I don’t think this has ever happened to me before! My appetite never seems to let me down. ;) Maybe others can comment on this below?

What is your biggest take-away message from your recovery?

Ok, ok…you got me, no one asked this question yesterday, but I like it so I’m going to pretend someone did!

One of the best lessons I have learned is that life doesn’t have to be a battle every day. It doesn’t have to be a struggle. Life is what we make it. We can choose to make it a battleground or we can do our best to beat that mindset and learn to be free. I have chosen to be free. Of course I still struggle like anyone else, but I don’t beat myself into the ground like I used to.

I learn from the past, or try to anyways, and I remind myself daily just how short life is. I work at this everyday and I’m excited for the journey instead of only thinking about the destination.

I used to say, ‘I’ll be happy when ________’

Now I say, ‘How can I be happy NOW.’

Previous post:

Next post:

Previous Posts

{ 171 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaclyn T April 26, 2011

This is such a wonderful and encouraging post. FYI, I gave you a “Sunshine Award” on my blog…http://positiveponderings.blogspot.com/2011/04/awarded.html

Reply

Sara April 26, 2011

“Life doesn’t have to be a battle everyday”
“I have chosen to be free”
Love it.
Thanks for the wonderful post.

Reply

Laura April 26, 2011

What a fantastic post! Thank you for this.

Reply

Justeen @ Blissful Baking April 26, 2011

This is a very inspiring and encouraging post! Thanks, Angela!

Reply

kate@ahealthypassion April 26, 2011

You are an inspiration to so many women thanks for sharing.

Reply

Michelle April 26, 2011

this is will helps heaps of people. thank you for being you…

Reply

Natalie April 26, 2011

Thank you so much for this post, I just read every word of it. I am a seventeen-year-old girl currently going through eating disorder recovery, and have been feeling incredibly down on myself lately. I’ve begun to fall back into my old habits, but your website has helped me so much along the way. I have a great love for food and veganism just as you do, and your recipes and positive outlook have made me want to have a healthier relationship with food. Although I’m not there yet, I know I can be, just like you. Thank you.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

Yes you certainly can…keep the faith! Thanks for your kind words. :)

Reply

Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) April 26, 2011

LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE this post! You’re fabulous.

I’m bookmarking this page on my favorites list!

I hope that I can find my healthy weight & healthy mindset.

Reply

Nina (SLO Foodie) April 26, 2011

Such an uplifting post, Angela! What a positive outlook and a great way to start my day. Thanks so much for posting.

Reply

Ashley April 26, 2011

This is one heck of a post, lady!! You are doing more good to the general public then you could ever imagine. Love YOU! xo

Reply

Amanda Jewell April 26, 2011

Amazing post Angela! Thank you for saying the things that many others are afraid to say. I’m sending this post to a few friends too! I’m going to go have a wonderful day TODAY. :)

Reply

Nicole @ Fresh & Fit April 26, 2011

I love this post! I can relate to every point you made! You have such a positive refreshing outlook!

Reply

Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 26, 2011

I love that you say you needed “freedom” and that a happy weight is one that you can maintain with “relative ease”

You are a wonderful example for readers, thank you so much for sharing your journey! You and your amazing blog played a part in the creation of mine :)

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

Thank you Jenny!

Reply

Cait @ Beyond Bananas April 26, 2011

Thanks so much for answering my question, Angela… and I love reading the other answers too,. They can really guide a girl trying to stay focued in recovery!

Reply

Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 26, 2011

You are amazing Ange. Thank you so much for this post and being so raw and honest about your experiences. Although I’ve never struggled with an ED like anorexia or bulimia, I’ve learned so much from you and your approach to life – you honestly have no idea! The part of this post that resonated with me the most was your comment about control being the last thing that you needed, and freedom being what you needed instead. Since starting my blog, my eating style has changed dramatically. When I was losing weight I was restrictive in the types of foods I’d eat – literally nothing went into my mouth without me knowing how many calories were in it. Now, although I eat clean about 90% of the time, I’m far more flexible and willing to experiment – probably because blogging has taught me that I LOVE food, and its far too good a thing to miss out on! I still have a lot of learning to do with regards to mindful eating, but like you said, give it time! :) Have a fantastic day! :)

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

That is great to hear Ange…I can relate to your experience a lot!

Reply

McKella April 26, 2011

Beautiful post, I’m going to bookmark this one!
I especially love your thoughts on “Happy Weight”. I feel like I’ve finally gotten a handle on intuitive eating and my body is starting to release weight, but I’m not sure what my happy weight is, because I’ve never really had a good relationship with food. For the brief time that I wasn’t obsessed with food, I was either losing weight or at the lower end of my BMI range (I don’t put a lot of stock in BMI, but it’s seems to be a decent ballpark figure for me). I guess I’ll find out where my happy weight is. I also like that you specify that it doesn’t mean we’ll love it when we get there. It’s so true, but I think I’m in a much better place to accept my happy weight, whatever it may be!

Reply

Destini April 26, 2011

I really enjoyed this post. I am in the transition of switching over to a healthy lifestyle and not a restricted intake of food and extreme exercise. I can also confirm that even only doing this for a month, I feel soo much better. I do have moments of hesitation, but old habits die hard. I will sometimes think just because I am not vocally talking about the amount of food I am eating, but still calculating the calories in my head that it’s not the same. I try and catch myself when I do that and stop, breath and relax. It’s a work in progress.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

Yes you are very right…a work in progress. Each day presents new challenges and hurdles…if you can understand that it won’t always be easy, well, that is half the battle!

Reply

Katie @ katie's hungry life April 26, 2011

I love love love everything about this post. I struggled with various eating disorders for years, and when I discovered your blog back in 2009 I realized that “life doesn’t have to be a battle every day”. This post really sums everything up…you are inspirational!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

:) Thank YOU!

Reply

Shavonne April 26, 2011

THANK YOU!

Reply

Ashley April 26, 2011

Bookmarking this most definitely:) Such an inspiration– thank you for sharing your thoughts! I’ve noticed that my biggest issue with food and healthy habits, exercise is the negativity. The hardest part I realized recently was, even though I am unhappy with my weight, I cannot beat myself up because it makes me want to change even less. But this past weekend, I decided to go shopping. I love clothes shopping– but when I am unhappy with my weight all the negativity keeps me from even bothering to look nice. But this recent shopping trip, I went with my mother, who has been changing her eating habits and is getting more fit each day– and the clothes I brought home are gorgeous. They add an extra bounce to my step– and I don’t bother looking at the size. I remember reading your Size Healthy post, it brought tears to my eyes because that’s how I felt.
Anyway, thank you for answering those questions– each one hit home with me and I’m feeling very inspired and encouraged today!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

That is such a great point! New clothes can make all the difference sometimes. I think many of us fall into the trap thinking that we don’t ‘deserve’ anything, but sometimes we do, right?
I still have size healthy written on my jeans and it always makes me smile!

Reply

Erin April 26, 2011

Thanks for your post Ang. I’ve struggled a lot over the years with binges, obsessive exercising, self-hate and restrictive eating, and it’s so inspirational to me to see people like you finding a healthy balance. It’s a long road, but I know one day I will make it past the toughest parts.

Reply

Christina April 26, 2011

Angela what a strong post! You said
“A Happy Weight doesn’t necessarily mean that you will instantly love the weight/size where your body is happiest. I struggled for a long time to accept my Happy Weight and realize that I wasn’t going to be a better person, more loved, etc. if I was 10 pounds lighter.”
And this really hit home for me. I had asked you about the self-sabatoge issues and I think you are right. I think self sabatoge, for me, may have come from a place where I was restricting so many foods (incuding portion sizes) that once I hit a certain weight I gave myself free reign on what I could eat.

I actually kept the weight off for a year but this past winter I was on again/off again vegan and I think I ate too much processed foods. Instead of looking at all the different foods I ate I immediately went to the negative thinking.

This post will forever stick with me. I’ll be reading it again for sure. Thanks for the wonderful post and being brave enough to share your thoughts and feelings!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

Thanks for sharing Christina. :) I think as long as you are reflecting on everything, you can’t go wrong. Sometimes it takes a while to have everything click.

Reply

Christina April 27, 2011

it sure does take time but it’s so worth it! I guess I’m still a work in progress :) I’m getting comfortable with a workout “schedule” and hopefully that’ll help. I used to never make a schedule and would just workout when I could, then I’d find that there were time I’d totally miscount my availablility and I’d miss a few days at the gym and end up back at square one. So, schedule time it is!

Thanks for being so inspiring :)

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 27, 2011

Goodluck!

Reply

Anne April 26, 2011

Thank you for this post.

Reply

Julie (A Case of the Runs) April 26, 2011

Thanks for addressing my question about convenience food!

Reply

Holly @ The Runny Egg April 26, 2011

Thanks for this Q/A post Angela — you have definitely changed for the better and you should be so proud! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It gives me hope that one day I’ll be at my happy weight and be content with my body.

Reply

cathy April 26, 2011

angela, thank you so much for your honesty, openness, and courage in writing this post. and also for all the time you obviously put into sharing your experience and suggestions. this is a treasure trove of information. you have come so far!
thanks so much, again.
“I used to say, ‘I’ll be happy when ________’
Now I say, ‘How can I be happy NOW.’” – -> what a perfect way to end this post.
hope you’re feeling better today! :)

Reply

Danielle @ weightsandmeasures April 26, 2011

You clearly put some serious time into this post. Thanks!

Reply

Therese April 26, 2011

Angela, you never cease to inspire me! Thank you so much for answering all of those very candid questions. As a recovering emotional eater I can relate to a lot of what you said and I think one of the more important things to take away from this as well is the emphasis that it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of time and patience and you WILL slip-up but that’s perfectly alright. I think we (especially women) are SO hard on ourselves but by admitting that we DO slip-up and that we aren’t perfect is such a great message for those people who are struggling with any sort of eating disorder.

I definitely broke through my emotional eating by breaking free and actually telling a good friend how I was feeling. I realized it was something I never really did before as I was always the one OTHERS came to. But once I realized that my friends actually did want me to talk to them about what I was feeling (as well as taking up journalling again) I managed to stop snacking so much and it helped me to break free. Of course, that’s the shortened version…

Angela, you’re awesome!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

I bet you felt so good to get that off your shoulders too!

Reply

Andrea April 26, 2011

I’d just like to add a big “me too!” to everything you said, haha. Though I can’t relate as much to the binge eating issues as that didn’t factor in to my ed/recovery, I could relate to much of your experience/advice. Great post! Also, as for the reader who asked about hunger… in my treatment program we were told that you should always eat at “eating times” (ie meals and snacks) in early recovery before you can trust your hunger signals. I speak from experience that this sometimes sucks, but ultimately helps the hunger signals to come back at appropriate times. That said, sometimes I still have to eat even when I’m not hungry, just because I know it has been 3-4 hours since I’ve eaten and my body needs the fuel.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

I have heard the same thing and while I have never been on a schedule myself, I can see how it would be helpful for many, especially in the initial stages!

Reply

Kellie April 26, 2011

I am on a “schedule” too. I am in recovery and I have such a hard time with having to eat on schedule because I feel like I am not IE, but I was told that it what I need to recover.

Reply

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 26, 2011

This is such a powerful post. While I have never had an “eating disorder,” I think we all fall into disordered eating and feeling some pressure at times… especially with bathing suit season coming up! I particularly love that you got rid of your old clothes. That’s such a big move – and a powerful statement/commitment.

Something I like to keep in my head from Oprah (so cliche, I know): “I did this for myself today.”

Reply

Sarah @ SarahFit.com April 26, 2011

Amazing Post! Thank you for being so open and candid with your readers. I don’t think I’ve ever read such an honest post from a healthy living blogger. You are going to effect many women today and I hope you are aware of the positive impact it will have on their lives. I’m going to tweet about it now because it is such a must read for so many.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

Thank you Sarah!

Reply

Lauren April 26, 2011

“Life doesn’t have to be a battle everyday.” WOW. I am in tears right now. I cannot even begin to tell you how much your writing has helped me. Your blog is where I come to when I feel lost. I read your old posts on body image, self-love etc… and find hope. You inspire me each and everyday. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Reply

Meredith April 26, 2011

This was such a fantastic post, thank you so much!

Reply

Beth April 26, 2011

I was really interested by the last question about appetite and how to intuitively eat with that. I stopped eating sugary foods (except for fruits pretty much). Now I don’t have strong appetites, which is great because I only very rarely get cravings, however it is hard to know when/how much to eat. Does anyone else have this issue, if so what do you do typically to make sure are eating appropriately. I usually plan meals in advance, and make sure they are balanced/healthy and eat when I notice my blood sugar levels appear to be low but I often worry I am eating too much then because its hard to sense when I am satisfied.

Reply

Carly April 26, 2011

You have such a way with words, this is really well done.
During a speech I heard recently at a gala, someone said “you don’t plan for life, this is life”. He was spreading the message of be happy now, do what you want to do. I need to remind myself of this every single day!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 26, 2011

I love that quote…very true.

Reply

Sonia April 26, 2011

Angela,
Thank you for this post. The past few weeks have been a struggle for me. I’ve been fighting the calorie count and negative thoughts and sometimes I win, most of the time I lose. The post helps reaffirm why I want to be healthy and further my recovery from my ED. It’s a great booster shot in the steps to loving myself as a whole rather than just a number on the scale. You’re so right. Life doesn’t have to be a battle.
Thank you so so so much.

Reply

Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 26, 2011

This is awesome, and it’s going to help a lot of people, Angela. <3!

Reply

Andrea B. @ Vegvacious April 26, 2011

Another great post. You’ve given so much info for me to mull over and think about. I’ve definitely started being happy now rather than I’ll be happy when I get this or if this happens….it’s hard to change your mindset, but in the end it makes life so much more enjoyable :-) Congratulations on how far you’ve come — you’ve done an amazing job!!

Reply

veganlisa April 26, 2011

Ange,
Thank you for sharing your journey. Each response provides great insight into the work it takes to recover and the benefits that make it all worth while.

I recently read a book called the Slow Down Diet that shares a number of the points you mentioned above and has a lot of scientific evidence to back up the practice of eating to nourish your body and to provide pleasure.

xo

Reply

Sabrina April 26, 2011

i LOVE THIS POST ANG. I have mentioned before that I dont and never have had an eatting disorder but so much of this is helpful for other issues we face in life. I think its also fair to say that eatting disorders also include those people who are obese and use food as therapy. This would all still apply to them.
One thing I have always wondered about people who are anorexic is what they think when they see images of jews in nazi camps or starving children around the world. Do they identify this as grotesque and painful or do they see it as some level of gorgeous that they want to obtain? I have always wondered about that.
Sabrina.

Reply

Page 1 of 41234»

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: